Working class needs a rebooting | Sept. 4, commentary
Corporate leaders should step up
Why is it that the dialogue about the lack of job growth in America continually exempts from the discussion corporations and the role they have played in destroying the middle class labor force in this country?
Finally, Harold Meyerson touches on it using Apple and Steve Jobs as an example of production that has moved to China and equates to jobs lost here. When are we going to hold corporate America responsible for profit taking as its only operational goal? Corporations have no soul, no conscience, no sense of what is best for this country. Until our elected officials stop living off their money pipeline, job creation will just be another conversation.
I have worked 30 years for a corporation that now outsources jobs. I can't understand how our brightest corporate minds can be so shortsighted about what they are doing to society.
Thomas Flora, Clearwater
Traffic cameras going up | Sept. 8
Be wary of the pitfalls
More than 540 cities across the country have turned to automated camera systems to enforce traffic laws. Meanwhile, cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston have canceled their programs, and other local governments find themselves in lengthy and costly legal disputes with their contractors.
As St. Petersburg initiates its own program, it is important for the public to be wary of potential pitfalls of privatized traffic enforcement.
If St. Petersburg is going to rely on a camera system to monitor intersections, it must prioritize safety instead of maximizing revenue. The cameras should be placed at the most dangerous intersections — not simply the ones where most tickets could be written. Most red-light violations are accidental and can be effectively addressed with alternative measures such as lengthening yellow lights.
It remains to be seen how effective the system will be in St. Petersburg. Let's hope the cameras have their lenses focused on the road, and not just on drivers' wallets.
Ryan Pierannunzi, tax and budget associate, U.S. PIRG, Boston
GOP debate is largely Romney vs. Perry Sept. 8
Real ideas, not rhetoric
The Republican presidential primary debate felt like reality TV. The candidates sounded like they were trying to one-up the others with a different punch line. Frankly, if I wanted to watch reality TV, I would watch something more interesting, like The Amazing Race.
Jon Huntsman was the only candidate on stage who stuck to explaining his qualifications and why he was best suited to beat Barack Obama and best suited to get our economy back on track. Is it important to make departments like Homeland Security work more efficiently? Sure. Is it important to secure the border with fences or drones or border patrol agents? Absolutely. But like many Americans, the thing I want tomorrow is a job!
Huntsman talked about implementing a flatter, fairer tax the way he successfully did in Utah — while it was the No. 1 jobs state in America. He talked about repealing Obamacare and putting in place a market-based program, the way he successfully did in Utah. And he talked about implementing the trade agreements we have sitting on the shelf and opening up discussions for more, so we'll have more places to sell American goods.
The Republicans need a candidate who is a conservative problem solver, not someone rash and abrasive throwing red meat to get a sound bite.
Phil Murray, Tampa
Nothing but the truth | Sept. 8, commentary
Fanning our fears
I appreciated Thomas Friedman's op-ed piece. The one thing he failed to point out is whereas President Dwight Eisenhower and his successors fueled the flames of optimism, President George W. Bush fueled the flames of fear.
Someone has said that anger is fear turned inside out. Now we have an angry society where rational thought and good manners seem to be forgotten. What are we doing to our children and our future?
Lois Rogers-Watson, Palm Harbor
Jobs crisis demands action | Sept. 5, editorial
No more union payoffs
I doubt the deficit hawks are going to go for borrowing trillions from our enemies for a big deficit spending program of multiyear infrastructure rebuilding. If they do, however, it should go only to nonunion contractors or it will be used just like the stimulus was: a big slush fund for unions.
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo
The grim reality is that the longer you are unemployed, the less likely it is that you will ever work again. That is the new reality.
We have lost something like 918,000 jobs in Florida. It will take 20 years of reasonable growth to break even because new people keep coming into the job market every day. We are backsliding, but the target is always moving. There simply is no room for the long-term unemployed. That especially affects those over 50.
Another grim reality is that in years past, when a recession ended, you simply looked for the same job and resumed where you left off. Not this time. Most of those jobs have permanently gone away or have been moved overseas, or the company has gone out of business.
The sad thing is that no one seems willing to compromise — not the politicians, not the bankers, not anyone. Until the stalemate is broken, we will go nowhere.
Lyda Graser, St. Petersburg
Tampa Bay Rays
Transportation is the key
All the posturing by mayors, finance people and sports people about the Rays baseball club and its future in the Tampa Bay area has been interesting but, as far as I can see, totally futile.
Without transportation, St. Petersburg is destined to support exactly the kind of baseball that it has at the present time. In fact, I believe that it has been fortunate to have had the success it has had. No one appears to have addressed transportation. My son and I come to a few games a year from east Pasco County. However, if we had good, fast transportation available from a convenient place near our homes, we probably would attend several times as many games as we do.
The same can be said of west Pasco, Lakeland, Sarasota and many of the suburbs of Tampa, even Brooksville. All talk of new stadiums, remaining in St. Petersburg, etc., will not do the club any good unless we can get the transportation systems we need.
Stanley Murphy, Zephyrhills
'New' economy flops | Sept. 9, commentary
Bring back manufacturing
This article is right on and should be reprinted for all politicians. They do not produce jobs.
As a native of Rhode Island, I can remember all of the industries that made the state their home or had major manufacturing facilities there. My aunt worked for J.P. Coats Thread in Pawtucket, R.I. She was happy to go to work each day and even happier to see the product that she helped to manufacture. She was proud of that product. My grandfather worked for J.P. Stevens Worsted Wool Mill in Peace Dale, R.I.
Other products and brands made in the area were: Marsden Cotton, Bradford Soap, Knapp Shoes, Walkover Shoes, Fruit of the Loom, Brown and Sharpe, Ronson, Balfour, Brahmin handbags, famous lace mills, American Tourister, Fafner Ball Bearings, Bostich, Stanley, Amica, CVS, etc. And on and on. I cannot remember them all.
I was happy to see where a product was made and proud to be able to buy it. The people of the time were happier and proud to be able to see and use the products that they got their hands dirty to help produce.
Make America proud again. It would be patriotic to bring manufacturing back to America.
Rodney Blythe, Largo